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Celebrating the tasseled tit

Ecdysiasts grind into town for the Windy City Burlesque Fest

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Three nights of sass and ass. Now in its third year, the annual Windy City Burlesque Festival features six shows at Stage 773, and the organizers say that they're ready "to bedazzle every square inch of the place."

The fest kicks off with an opening-night party (Thu 7/12, 9 PM, Lincoln Tap Room, 3010 N. Lincoln), at which guests get to mingle with the ecdysiast stars. They can also see two free previews with local talents Boobs Radley, Po' Chop, and Patsy Blue Ribbon.

Next comes a weekend of stripteases, pole dances, and strategically placed costume elements. Among the attractions: "showgrrrl" and belly dancer Kristina Nekyia (Fri 7/13, 10 PM, Sat 7/14, midnight) whose resumé includes contortion studies with the Mongolian National Circus in Ulaanbaatar; Miss Exotic World 2002, Kitten de Ville (Fri 7/13, 10 PM; Sat 7/14, 8 PM); and Tiffany Carter (Fri 7/13, 8 PM; Sat 7/14, 10 PM) who was Miss Nude Universe for 1975 and earned her pasties performing alongside the likes of Tempest Storm and Louisiana femme fatale Blaze Starr.

After watching the pros bump and grind, you may want to try it yourself. On its final day, the fest presents classes—not just on dance and stripping but hair, costumes, stagecraft, and the business side of burlesque. They've got titles like "Big Bad Boa with Coco Lectric" (3 PM), "Bling Bling Bling: Rhinestone Principals [sic] and Application with Penny Starr Jr." (1 PM), and, my favorite, "Merkin and Codpiece Construction with Titty Perkins" (2:30 PM). New York School of Burlesque headmistress Jo Boobs offers a class on tassels designed to show you "how to twirl in every direction and on every part of your body." Whoa.

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